The first time I discovered t.A.T.u., I was 10 years old and watching MTV. Their music video for “All The Things
Said” came on and I was obsessed. The next time it came on the radio, I recorded it onto a cassette tape
I could listen to it all of the time.
I absolutely loved their image and concept. As an 11-year-old (especially one with a homophobic dad), the
concept of lesbianism always intrigued me (took me a while longer to catch on though, lmfao!). I remember
making Barbie lesbians as an even smaller lesbian. t.A.T.u. seemed to be marketed to me specifically. 100%
When I was 11, I joined my first web forum, tatu.us. This forum is no longer up as of
December 2021, but was up until at least May of 2021!
This was the first time I had the opportunity to freely and openly socialize with strangers (outside of
chat rooms). My first account got banned for spam because I was a little kid who had no idea how to
Each time I got banned, I made a new account. Each time I would learn a little bit more about online
I met a lot of interesting people on that forum from all over the world. t.A.T.u. saw greater fame in
Europe than in the U.S., so it was overwhelmingly Europeans. There were also lot of older men on this
They mostly stuck around to write fanfiction - thinly-veiled erotica (about teenage pop stars).
What really drew me in was the concept of t.A.T.u. fanfiction. I had been technically writing fanfic
I was 7 or 8, but I didn't know it had a name and was a thing that people actually do.
Although I do strongly feel that band!fic is ethically questionable, writing about t.A.T.u. was one of my
first forays into writing fanfiction. The forum’s most active board by far was the ‘Tatu Writing’ board,
filled to the brim with long fanfictions spanning sometimes hundreds of pages.
I dreamed of putting together intricate stories that held chapters and chapters of stories about
angsty love. I’ve always been drawn to writing, but writing about lesbian romance? The idea hadn’t even
occurred to me! Complete with an 11-year-old’s understanding of grammar, I typed away at my first t.A.T.u.
fanfiction (and didn’t use paragraph breaks hahahah).
Despite my honestly horrid writing, I got some ‘reviews’ where people typically comment on your
and say, ‘great job, keep up the good work!’ and it fueled me.
At the time, there was a very famous long and well-written t.A.T.u. fanfiction called "Going Mad". It had its
own website and everything. It was based on the music video for "All The Things She Said" (each
chapter was a song title and based on the song - it was incredible). The story detailed a forlorn love
between two girls from homophobic families. The girls run away from home to be together. I laughed. I
I loved it.
When I discovered this, I copied the entire thing into a Word document so I could read it offline, since
didn’t have internet at home. I still have the Word document saved!
I was so inspired that I copied that person’s idea and created a cringy website to
showcase one of my first t.A.T.u. fanfictions. “You know what would be cool?” thought 11-year-old
“If I wrote my fanfiction on top of a t.A.T.u. image in Photoshop and used Comic Sans MS! Yeah!” Oof…
I was so intrigued by t.A.T.u. and their music that I determined (but ultimately failed) to learn
so I could understand their interviews and lyrics. I had been memorizing the cyrillic alphabet (a fine
to start, I thought) when my dad bought me Learn Russian - The Fast and Easy Way from Barnes and Noble for my birthday.
I was doing all of the basics, before I realized “wait… where’s the cyrillic?”
I thought you just needed to map each cyrillic letter to a letter of our alphabet and decode the language
like a key. I WAS ONLY ELEVEN. ;-;
A lot of t.A.T.u.'s music was largely unavailable to me due to it being released in Russia. I hadn't yet
learned how to pirate music. On a trip to a farm with a family friend, we spoke with someone who lived
who kindly downloaded their entire russian discography from Limewire and burnt it to a CD for me. I was
ecstatic, although I'll never forget the weird and disgusted looks on the faces of my classmates as I
proudly showed them my Russian pop techno.
As mentioned earlier, it really broke my heart when I learned t.A.T.u. was an ‘act’ instead of a
public affair. This was a band that made me feel validated to be who I was, because they were so
unapologetically who they are - until I learned they weren’t.
I stopped participating in the forum, and I stopped writing fanfiction. But I never stopped listening to
Here are some of the original ‘forum siggies’ from my preteen years: